HomeFootball NewsLionel Messi Makes Grand Entrance to Inter Miami

Lionel Messi Makes Grand Entrance to Inter Miami

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In a moment that seemed surreal for soccer fans around the world, Lionel Messi, widely regarded as the greatest player of his era and possibly of all time, took center stage at his new home stadium in Miami.

The Argentine superstar, who recently won the World Cup as captain of the national team and has been awarded the Ballon d’Or seven times as the world’s best player, chose Inter Miami of Major League Soccer as the destination for the twilight of his career. The unveiling event served as proof that this dream-like scenario had indeed become a reality.

Sporting a pink No. 10 jersey, Messi walked across a makeshift stage at DRV PNK Stadium, located about 30 miles north of downtown Miami. He embraced the owners of his new team, including former Premier League icon David Beckham, while the crowd erupted in cheers and fireworks illuminated the night sky.

Expressing his gratitude in Spanish, Messi addressed the Inter Miami fans who had been chanting his name throughout the evening. He thanked the city of Miami for its warm reception and kindness since his arrival. With visible emotion, he expressed his happiness and excitement to be a part of the team and to join the fans in Miami.

Messi’s decision to choose Miami over other options, including a lucrative offer from a team in Saudi Arabia and a potential return to his former club Barcelona, where he enjoyed immense success, has added an air of excitement to the Miami franchise, the region, and soccer in the United States.

The owners of Inter Miami had long dreamed of bringing Messi to South Florida, and the unveiling event and the preceding weeks leading up to it have demonstrated the significant impact Messi has already made.

Jorge Mas, the Cuban American billionaire and managing owner of Inter Miami, acknowledged the historic nature of Messi’s arrival, stating, “There will always be a before and after Lionel Messi.”

Mas emphasized that the team and its fans now hold the legacy of the world’s greatest player, who started his career at Newell’s Old Boys, played for Barcelona, and most recently for Paris Saint-Germain. Mas described it as a pivotal moment that has the potential to change the football landscape in the United States.

Although the event was initially marred by heavy rain, which flooded parts of the interim stadium, the weather eventually cleared, and Messi took the stage.

The 19,000-seat stadium may not have matched the size or energy of iconic venues like Camp Nou in Barcelona or Parc des Princes in Paris, but the fans showed their support by donning team and Messi apparel. One passionate fan even waved a large flag featuring Messi in an Argentina jersey.

The celebration, broadcast globally on Apple TV+ as part of MLS’s streaming partnership, coincided with halftime of the Concacaf Gold Cup final, adding to the excitement. Before Messi addressed the crowd, Beckham and Mas spoke, with Beckham delivering his remarks in both English and Spanish to reflect the multicultural makeup of Miami and its strong Argentine community.

Beckham expressed confidence that the people of South Florida would embrace Messi and highlighted the club’s mission to represent the city and its people.

Messi, known for his concise approach to speaking in public, expressed his gratitude to the ownership group for their warm welcome and his eagerness to start training and competing. He thanked his teammates, several of whom joined him on the field, and conveyed his excitement about embarking on this new chapter with his family.

The event concluded with a video featuring various celebrities welcoming Messi to Miami, followed by photo opportunities with the owners and their families.

Messi will officially begin training with his new teammates on Tuesday, and his first game with Inter Miami is scheduled for Friday. The stage is now set for Messi to leave his mark on MLS as he begins this new chapter of his illustrious career in his new home.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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